The Impact of Neighborhood Walkability on Walking Behavior

Planners love to point out that people who live in walkable neighborhoods tend to walk more, but they’re quick to admit that we don’t entirely understand that relationship. A new paper from America Walks seeks to address that by using survey data to answer some burning questions, namely things like:

  • How much more do people who live in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods walk than people who live in neighborhoods that are not as conducive for walking?
  • What about people who happen to live in walkable neighborhoods for whom “walkability” was not a decisive factor in choosing where to live?
  • Do these people also walk more than others who live in less walkable neighborhoods?

To answer these questions, the survey queried respondents about both the type of walking they did in a typical week, including “utilitarian” (to get some place) and “health/relaxation” (exercise, walking a dog) walking.